Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.

Two Christmases ago, I purchased kid-friendly tablets for my boys. I loved the idea of age appropriate content and parental controls, but it turned into a free-for-all of mindless games that offered no real educational content. To be honest, it really wasn’t their fault. I could’ve set stricter guidelines, but I appreciated the hour or so of quiet time the tablets gifted me while their sister napped.

But a few weeks ago I took them away – not permanently, just for an undetermined amount of time. I wanted us to engage in a more meaningful way in the middle of the day. So I opened the game closet, dusted off some card games we already had, and purchased a couple new ones for variety.

Here are our favorites:

Red Light, Green Light 1-2-3

This is my favorite sequencing card game. Players lay out cards in the sequence of the game’s title and when they cannot play any further, the turn goes to the next player who may either continue the sequence or draw if they don’t have the correct following card. Each player is dealt seven cards, so I let my almost five-year-old lay his cards face up in front of him. I think it’s a bit of a handful for little hands that are fairly new to card games, and I really enjoy seeing his brain processing as his hands examine his cards during his play. My oldest at eight-years-old, likes this one because the number in your hand doesn’t grow excessively large like it would in other card games for older kids. He doesn’t prefer to have his cards for everyone to see, but he also grows frustrated when his hand grows too awkwardly large to neatly hold. This game wins brownie points for boosting my kids’ confidences in different ways. 

Spot It!

Nine times out of ten, I’ll reach for this one first. I’ve seen several varieties of this game- camping, animals and even Frozen II – and they all look equally exciting. I purchased Spot It! Classic because it was available for same day pick up from Target. I like convenience.

There are a few ways to play this game, but so far we’ve stuck with the first version in the mini directions booklet. You deal a card face up to all players, and each player looks for something that’s on both their card and the card in the center draw pile. This gem encourages cognitive development and patience. The latter is my favorite. 

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors by JAX Games

The only child in me is so excited to finally have someone to play rock, paper, scissors with at home! Each player is dealt five cards, and you play until the draw deck is empty. It’s a self-explanatory game so I initially thought the kids wouldn’t have been interested. But they quickly gather round the coffee table when I start shuffling the three amigos. I’ve also found this game to be a good one for those who don’t yet recognize the words “rock, paper, scissors” because with such clear, playful card images, the littlest siblings can feel like big brother when their paper covers rock. Though the game is just for two players at a time, sessions go relatively quickly so siblings and parents won’t have to wait too terribly long before tapping in. 

Disney Eye Found It 

I love games where all the kids feel involved, whether they fully grasp the concept or not. My three-year-old daughter enjoys looking at the vivid scenes more than she does finding the object in the card, but I don’t mind. You’ll recognize scenes from Disney’s most cherished animated movies and if you don’t, there’s so much to sort through that endless conversations are bound to stem from what’s in front of you. Your kids might ask you what parties are going on inside Cinderella’s castle or what treasures are inside the chest under the sea. You just might relive your own childhood through these cards. 

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